Ethics and the Environment
STS 2061 / BSOC 2061 / PHIL 2460
Tu/Th, 10:10 – 11:25 am
Kaufmann Auditorium (G64),
Goldwin Smith Hall
PROFESSOR SARA PRITCHARD
Tuesdays, 2:30 – 4:30 pm; and by appointment
Mr. Aydin Akyurtlu
Ms. Amy Kohout
Fridays, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Thursdays, 12:00 – 2:00pm
Politicians, scientists, and citizens world-wide face many environmental issues today:
GMOs, climate change, wilderness preservation and indigenous peoples, consumption, and
These issues are neither simple nor straight-forward.
Moreover, there are many ways to
understand how we
value the environment—from animal rights and wise use
to deep ecology and eco-feminism.
Each of these approaches makes important assumptions
about the definition of nature, how humans and the environment should relate, and what
All of these assumptions have significant implications for not only the planet,
but also humanity.
This class acquaints students with some of the challenging moral issues that arise in the
context of environmental management and policy-making, both in the past and the present, for
experts and lay people.
Environmental concerns also highlight important economic,
epistemological, legal, political, and social questions in assessing our moral obligations to the
natural world, as well as to other humans.
This course examines various perspectives expressed
in both contemporary and historical debates over environmental ethics by exploring four central
questions: Who counts in environmental ethics?
What is nature?
How do we know nature?
This class has several objectives.
By the end of the semester, students should be able to:
Analyze and appreciate the ways in which “ethics,” “the environment,” and “environ-
mental ethics” are all culturally and historically situated.
Identify, explain, and analyze some of the major concepts and approaches to
Identify, examine, and evaluate both the ethical foundations and implications of
environmental policies and practices in the past, present, and those considered for future.